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Old 09-25-2017, 08:37 AM   #1
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Insulation question

Hi all,

I have been researching until my head is about to explode but I am still no closer to a solution. My van is a E350 cargo van but the PO opted for windows all around. I am adding a hightop in a few weeks so the only concern I have for insulation at this time is the areas beneath the window. I have no flat wall area, just nooks , crannies, and cavities.

How/what do I fill these with?

Thanks in advance,
Lisa
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:01 PM   #2
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Take a look at Thinsulate. More expensive than some but easier to work with, doesn't absorb moisture, and isn't toxic. Here's a link to one van that used it. The link following is Hein's, the guy you can buy it from on Ebay:

How-To Insulate A Van With Thinsulate - Morey's In Transit


3M Thinsulate (TM) SM600L Acoustic Thermal Automotive Insulation for van and car | eBay

.
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:29 PM   #3
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I have a 1990 Ford E-350 EB conversion and I have a lot of windows (ideally, I would have chosen few or smaller windows too.)

I recently insulated my van with polyiso rigid board. After all my research, I thought it was best based on R-value (R6 at 1"), cost, no moisture absorption, and health wise (Although the health part could be debated, I think it's better than having fiberglass in the van). I have 1" of insulation on the walls (using 2 layers of 1/2" to flex with the wall curves) and an additional 1" (2" total) where there is extra space below the windows. Adhered with Great Stuff Pro (it fills gaps/cracks but is also a great adhesive. The $50 gun applicator is worth it). I also did 1" rigid foam board on the floor under a 1/2" birch subfloor. Foam board seems sealed with foil or tyvek tape and gaps, cracks, seams filled with Great Stuff Pro.

Pictures of your van may help to see what you're working with.

Professional spray foam insulation I think is a good way to go but costly and there's a couple horror stories of van wall deformation.

Many people do well with a DIY 2-part spray foam kit at home depot ($300-400). It seems some have reported running short of getting 1" in their entire van with one-kit (but that depends on body length, windows, and if your doing the ceiling.) Since you have a lot of windows, and installing a pop top, you could probably do well with one kit.

I'm really happy with my insulation and the rigid polyiso foam board (foil faced). I wouldn't use the pink foam board or styrofoam because it has lower temperature ratings and may melt on hot van walls. It is time consuming using templates, recutting and measuring the foam board. Also, I'm still building so I cannot report real world trip use yet.

You can see pictures and details on my insulation here:
Sully - 1991 Ford E350 EB 121K Miles - Home build - Page 2 - Sportsmobile Forum

Thinsulate seems interesting and I may use it for the doors (healthier and better moisture resistance than fiberglass, rock wool, or denim). But I'm still skeptical of it's use and value for the whole van at it's high cost.

- Marty
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
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Thanks!

I think thinsulate would be perfect!

I'll post some pics in a bit ...
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:05 PM   #5
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I got really good results with the thinsulate. Super easy to work with too. Definitely costly, but you get what you pay for. All of these materials do well, just a matter of what you can put up with. I also have a layer of reflectix over the thinsulate. So my insulation scheme ended up being a layer of 1/8" ensolite, a layer of thinsulate, and a layer of reflectix.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:10 PM   #6
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OK, here are some photos.

I'm at the back shooting toward the left and right. And then I stood in the sliding door and shot at the area behind the driver's seat. On the plus side the Vanrug looks really good!
Attached Thumbnails
P1000675.jpg   P1000676.jpg   P1000677.jpg   P1000678.jpg  
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:23 PM   #7
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Yeah, my van's older generation and doesn't have all those double wall cavities pictured above. Rigid foam board worked well for me, but probably won't work well for your walls. If money's not an issue, Thinsulate seems a good choice. Or, a professional or DIY spray foam job. But that get's messy, probably never gonna come off, and you'll want to plan your wiring in advance.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:30 PM   #8
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Thanks, it is a bit of a challenge. I'm leaning toward the Thinsulate ... I think it will work best for these walls. Would polyiso even work with these surfaces?
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:34 PM   #9
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Also check out QuietRide. I used that in my last van for the hard top, van walls and floor. It worked well and comes in a pre-cut kit.
Eric
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoRockiesFan View Post
Thanks, it is a bit of a challenge. I'm leaning toward the Thinsulate ... I think it will work best for these walls. Would polyiso even work with these surfaces?
No, polyiso rigid foam board wouldn't really work for the walls pictured- I guess I was being optimistic and don't like to say no or never. But, it only makes sense if there is a large flat surface areas. IMO, Thinsulate or spray foam insulation seams the best choices.

But, if you decide to insulate the floor, 1" polyiso rigid foam board would be an ideal choice under a subfloor.

I did 1" floor insulation in my build because I plan on 4-season use with winter camping in cold climates for snowboard trips. I did 1" instead of 1/2" because I thought it might be sturdier and less likely to compress (I also put strips of 1/4" plywood in the grooves of my bare floor to create a flat surface to support the rigid board). But if you have a sturdy subfloor 1/2" or more, I think it would be fine with 1/2" or 1" insulation. I have a mid-top roof that does not allow full standing height, so I decided I didn't care about losing any ceiling height with floor insulation (I'll also be doing 1" rigid board on the ceiling of my fiberglass roof too).

Before I started, I saw many vans without floor insulation. And that's totally fine if you're in California or the south and not doing much wintering and don't want to lose standing height.

Also, hot air rises, so really, for winter, roof and ceiling insulation is probably a bit more important than floor insulation to keep warm air in- I think. I have no degree in thermodynamics here. All my advice should be taken with a grain of salt- I have a bachelor of arts degree- ha! But, I try my best researching the forums and blogs.

Whatever you do, don't waste your time and money putting Reflectix right against the van wall or floor. Reflectix is most effective at reflecting radiant heat and it needs an air gap to do that (1/8" or more I think). Reflectix is also very effective to hang for your windows, there's an air gap, and the foil reflects the sun's radiant heat. But if it's pressed up against hot metal van walls or floors, it's conducting and not gonna do much, it's essentially the small R-value of bubble wrap, no need for the foil. That's my understanding at least.

That said, I think Flux' use above (Thinsulate first and holding it in with a layer of Reflectix) is good and sound.

In a similar way, I've been considering an outer layer of Reflectix attached to the backside of my 1/4" birch paneling for my walls. I don't know if it would be effective and worth it though???

It would have some air gap between the paneling and my 1" of polyiso board insulation adhered to the metal van walls, especially at the bottom of the wall where the van is wider.
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